The Mirror are reporting that Rafa Benitez is keen to sign his former goalkeeper Pepe Reina and bring him to Newcastle to add some significant experience to the Newcastle team and some real solidity at the back.
Pepe is a top goalkeeper who is a tremendous professional with significant leadership abilities in the dressing room and we have an inkling that if he was signed by his former Liverpool coach, he could even become the new club captain at Newcastle.
34 year-old Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina
He’s not young at 34, but goalkeepers these days last a long time and it’s their vast experience that can help any team, especially given Pepe already has so much experience in the Premier League with Liverpool.
He played 284 Premier League games for Liverpool in the eight seasons he was their number one and Rafa signed him in the summer of 2005 after Liverpool had dramatically beaten AC Milan on penalties in the miracle of Istanbul.
When the news first broke about Rafa wanting Pepe, we thought it would be an odd signing but it makes a lot of sense for Newcastle to have such a top goalkeeper in the nets for our entry back into the Premier League.
The new news today is the Mirror is reporting his long time agent Manuel Garcia Quilon has travelled to Naples for talks about the goalkeeper’s future.
Pepe has fallen out with some of the senior directors at the Napoli club and with renewed interested coming from Newcastle it seems they want to know where they stand at Napoli, with only one year left on his contract in Italy.
Rafa will have already talked with Pepe about all the great things happening at Newcastle United at the moment and you have to feel it’s a huge opportunity for Pepe Reina to come back to England.
This is what Rafa said about Reina earlier this month, although some outlets are reporting it as if he has said this much more recently.
“I have a great personal relationship with Pepe Reina – he is a great goalkeeper.” “Pepe is a great player, but above all, he is a leader in the dressing room.”
“We missed him at Napoli in the year he went to Bayern Munich and he can make a difference both on and off the pitch.”
“Would I take him to Newcastle if he left?”
“I respect Napoli, as that is where he is, and our club (Newcastle) has a lot of goalkeepers who are doing well.
“We need to be calm, we’ll talk to the club and decide on our targets.”
It’s just one of the many intriguing deals Rafa and Managing Director Lee Charnley seem to be working on early in the summer.
We would expect some signings coming soon and they will then be made official when the transfer window opens officially on July 1st – the start of the new financial year.